Canine Kidney Disease
Canine kidney disease in dogs is known by various names. You may have heard it referred to as canine renal failure or canine kidney failure. No matter what it is called, it is a very serious condition that can easily be fatal.
The kidneys are responsible for filtering toxins and waste products from the body. If they aren’t doing their job properly, then these substances will start to build up in the bloodstream. The kidneys will be unable to function normally once 75% of it has been damaged.
As you can see, canine renal disease is very serious. Older dogs compromise the age group that is most commonly affected, but any dog of any age can develop the disease. However, one of the leading causes of death for older canines is this particular disease.
Kidney disease in dogs can take an acute or chronic form. The acute form comes out of nowhere, while its chronic counterpart will develop slowly over time. This is the form that most commonly affects older canines. Both form cause irreversible damage to these vital organs.
There are many potential causes of acute canine renal failure. Using rat poison irresponsibly around your home can spell doom for your furry friend. Antifreeze that leaks out of your car or spills when you’re filling up can also be trouble. Disease of the kidneys can also be caused by bacterial infections and heart disease.
Chronic kidney disease in canines can occur because of natural aging of the organs. Taking chemotherapy medications or antibiotics over a long period of time can lead to the condition also. Some dogs are born with abnormalities or other congenital defects that may be responsible for them developing the condition relatively early.
Canine kidney disease leads to a range of symptoms. Dogs will start drinking water more often and later urinating more frequently. At the same time, they commonly lose their appetite and even become dehydrated. Their teeth may also become discolored.
Kidney disease in dogs can be painful, so you may notice your dog walking with an arched back or stiff legs. Other possible symptoms include diarrhea, shivering, and muscle weakness.
In order to diagnose your dog with this disease, the veterinarian will have to perform a thorough physical exam. He will also get your dog’s complete medical history as well as a report on his behaviors and symptoms. A blood test and urinalysis will help achieve an accurate diagnosis.
The blood test that’s used to help diagnose renal failure in dogs will likely show a higher level of creatinine. There may also be an increased level of sugar or protein in the urine sample. Some urine samples will even contain bacteria or blood. In some cases, the vet may feel it necessary to take a biopsy of the kidney.
There are five different stages of canine kidney disease ranging from one to five. Dogs in stage one have the highest life expectancy. Conversely, those in stage five have the most serious condition and aren’t expected to live nearly as long.
Renal failure in dogs can be very difficult to treat. Most of the time, it won’t be possible to cure it due to the fact that the organ is too severely damaged once symptoms begin to show. Therefore, treatment focuses on improving your dog’s quality of life. Medications will likely be prescribed. Your dog may also require hospitalization to receive intravenous fluids.
If your dog suffers from renal failure, then you will likely need to change his diet. He will need to eat foods that don’t contain as many vitamins and minerals so that the kidneys don’t have to work as hard. You will also need to ensure that your dog has access to plenty of fresh water. In rare cases, your dog will get a kidney transplant.